It starts from the farm up
ADOPTION of new technology in agriculture has to start from the grassroots, according to AgriWebb co-founder John Fargher, who spoke at GFIA In Focus.
Mr Fargher cited a MLA study which found through the use of technology and data management, gains of $14 to $18 gross margins per hectare could be achieved.
He also shared a comment from the first customer of AgriWebb – an agriculture app designed to streamline farm data.
“He said, ‘if people like me don’t invest in people like you, this industry will never move forward’,” he said.
“I think that’s quite powerful in that we know we have a big job to do and we can’t just sit back and wait for others to do that. It will be required from the ground up.”
During his presentation, Mr Fargher asked all the farmers in the room to raise their hands. He then asked how many still carried a little red or green notebook with a pencil in their pocket. Most did.
“We have gone on for multiple generations running our businesses off pencil and paper or, at best, a spreadsheet. But we have no ability to process improve, there is no ability to work out what the inputs and outputs are and what’s actually driving our business forward,” he said.
“By no means are farmers not innovative people, in fact, I think the opposite. If we look at my family business, we went from a staff of about 40 people, on horseback, to now being run just by my parents with a Cessna aircraft.” WHAT does the farm vehicle of the future look like?
Will it be driverless? A machine that can fly? Or one that can be controlled by a smartphone?
According to Ubco chief executive officer Timothy Allan, the future vehicle for farmers could be an electric two-wheel motorbike.
Speaking at the GFIA In Focus in Brisbane, Mr Allan said safety would be the critical factor for consumer choice.
His company has designed a dual electric drive bike it believes will slash workplace fatalities.
“It has a very low centre of gravity, a simple design with no clutch or gears and there are no real elements that generate heat – so you can’t get burnt,” he said.
“When you combine the fairy-light weight with these features it’s very safe.”
That low weight was the biggest advantage of electrics, he said.
The average weight of a four wheeler is close to 300kg. Ubco’s bikes weigh only 63kg.